Press Releases

June 4, 2019

2019 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship Internship Matches

Watson Foundation places 45 enterprising college students at internships around the city and the globe.

May 30th, 2019, New York, NY – The Watson Foundation today announced the summer internship placements for its Jeannette K. Watson Fellows. The first year fellows will be across New York City, working with international institutions like IBM and the IRC, and local powerhouses like the Urban Justice Center and PBS's POV.  And for the first time in the Foundation's history, all second and third year Jeannette K. Watson fellows will be interning outside of New York City. Eight fellows will be in the United States, and twenty-two will be abroad. Fellows will be working with the Foundation's partner organizations, and with organizations they've identified as thought leaders in their fields. Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship Director, Sara Nolfo, said: "From Alaska to Chicago, New Delhi to Copenhagen, we are excited to see what these brilliant young minds are going to accomplish this summer".

“We are so excited for our Jeannette K. Watson fellows embarking on their summers. Whether they're working with our partners, or organizations they connected with themselves, they will be learning from industry leaders in their respective fields. What's most thrilling is that the diversity and breadth of these institutions matches that of our remarkable fellows and their varied interests,” said Chris Kasabach, Executive Director of the Watson Foundation.

About the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

Jeannette K. (JK) Watson Fellows are high-performing students attending one of twelve New York City academic partner institutions. Students who earn a place in the fellowship are chosen through a highly competitive selection process. Selection criteria include: high standards, demonstrated ambition, leadership, integrity, accountability, teamwork and high academic achievement. During their three years in the fellowship, they gain broad professional experience in both domestic and international internships, mentorship and extensive programming that develops their personal, professional and cultural potential.

Class 2019

Alexandra Shoneyin (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - MassDesign - Kigali, Rwanda

Amanda Anzovino (Marymount Manhattan College) - Goldsmiths University of London - London, United Kingdom 

Amanda Tukaj (College of Staten Island) - 100Resilient Cities, Sydney - Sydney, Australia 

David Dam (The City College of New York) - Brookings - New Delhi, India 

Jasmine Awad (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - Include Youth - Belfast, United Kingdom

Jennifer Acevedo (Marymount) - 100Resilient Cities, Melbourne - Melbourne, Australia 

Johnny Wiley (St. John’s University) - Institute for Security Studies, Dakar - Dakar, Senegal 

Junior Duplessis (The City College of New York) - University of British Columbia - Vancouver, Canada & Chennai, India 

Kaitlin McDermott (Queens College) - - Vienna, Austria 

Lisa Nishimura (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - Freemuse - Copenhagen, Denmark 

Maisha Kamal (Brooklyn College) - Brookings - New Delhi, India 

Marco Costanza (CSI) - Telethon Kids Institute - Perth, Australia 

Saifeldeen Zihiri (Hunter College) - West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism - Accra, Ghana 

Stephanie Luna (Baruch College) - Entertainment One - Toronto, Canada 

Victoria Smith (Lehman College) - Sonke Gender Justice - Cape Town, South Africa 

Class of 2020

Amelia Smyth (The City College of New York) - Fund for Peace - Washington, DC 

Evelyn Austin (St. John’s University) - Defenders of Wildlife - Anchorage, AK 

Fatu Amara (College of Staten Island) - AVSI Foundation - Kigali, Rwanda 

Izzy Gouse (Hunter College) - Center for Health and Gender Equity - Washington, DC 

Jacob Sellman (Hunter College) - NewCities - Montreal, Canada 

Jessica Duque (Pace University) - SolidarityNow - Thessaloniki, Greece 

Karishma Malhotra (Baruch College) - 100Resilient Cities, Cape Town - Cape Town, South Africa 

Melissa Lent (Hunter College) - VinaCapital Foundation - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Mohamed Magassa (Lehman College) - University of Washington Neurological Surgery Summer Student Program/Instituto Dominicano De Desarrollo Integral - Seattle, WA/Dominican Republic 

Musarrat Lamia (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - RAICES - San Antonio, TX 

Nina Daro (Brooklyn College) - IndustriALL Global Union - Geneva, Switzerland, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, United Kingdom, Mauritius 

Renuka Surujnarain (Queens College) - Jane Goodall Institute - Vienna, VA 

Salma Mohamed (Brooklyn College) - American Bar Association - Washington, DC 

Shakila Khan (Hunter College) - Chicago History Museum - Chicago, IL 

Teagan Sweet (St. John’s University) - Trinity College Dublin - Dublin, Ireland

Class of 2021

Aaron Fernando (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - TransitCenter - NYC 

Alina Camejo (Baruch College) - PBS POV - NYC

Amanda Zhu (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) - Open Society Foundations - NYC

Anna Shvetsova (Hunter College) - ACLU - NYC

Clyde Drayton (St. John’s University) - NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety - NYC

Devashish Basnet (Hunter College) - International Rescue Committee - NYC

Hamida Chumpa (Baruch College) - NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs - NYC

Jenna Chandu (St. John’s University) - Urban Justice Center, Safety Net Project - NYC

Jewel Antoine (St. John’s University) - Gotham Gazette - NYC

Marlyn Paulino (Queens College) - Institute of International Education - NYC

Nibras Ahmed (Hunter College) - ProHealth - NYC

Raquel Merino (Brooklyn College) - Institute of International Education - NYC

Rene Clever (Lehman College) - IBM Corporate Social Responsibility - NYC

Serena Burton (Queens College) - Institute of International Education - NYC

Sumana Ali (Lehman College) - NYC Department of Cultural Affairs - NYC

About the Watson Foundation

Founded in 1961 by the family of Thomas J. Watson, the IBM leader, The Watson Foundation partners with over 100 colleges and international organizations to extend life changing programs to remarkable students. With the belief that the world is in need of more humane and effective leaders the foundation provides students with the widest cultural, professional and personal growth opportunities, empowering them to expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and gain the confidence and perspective to do so for others. For more information, visit:

Media Inquiries

For more information about the Foundation or our programs, please contact us.